Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I recently spent a little time in the magical town of Port Costa, CA, and I wanted to share.  The wonderful artist Wendy Addison has an open house at her studio there a few weekends during the holidays, and this is the only time it's possible to buy from her directly. You wind around the top of a mountain overlooking the water, thinking this can't possibly be where I'm supposed to be going.  Then amazingly you see the street you're looking for, drive along it a bit, and suddenly the street ends at the water and you're in a ghost town.  Old abandoned looking hotels, post office, etc, under huge trees. There's an old courtyard with a wonderful old sign over it, and a crumbling fountain inside.  This is where Wendy's studio is, and it's absolutely magical.  The tiny area at the front of her studio is absolutely stuffed with magical beautiful things - she calls it her Theatre of Dreams, and it really is. It seems to put a spell over me, and suddenly price is no object until I'm back in the car thinking "I spent HOW much?"  But I've never regretted a purchase, and friends who have gotten something of hers as a gift from me are always wowed...

And this year, for the first time, the abandoned hotel across the street was partially opened as a coffee shop, only open on weekends. I don't think I've ever been in a more charming, magical little cafe.  It's partly the setting in the charming old hotel, where they bake their 2 kinds of cakes they make in a wonderful antique oven, and it was enhanced by it being Christmas time and decorated so lovely.  I had the most amazing sweet cornbread/cake with cranberries that I can't even describe, and the best hot chocolate I've ever had. I didn't want to leave....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Craft Fun

I had some fun over the weekend making this for a friend of mine for Christmas. The box is a cigar box without the lid, and I had picked up the old snowman ornament and tree recently, and suddenly last week I just saw them all put together. I covered the sides and top of the box with old yellowed ledger paper, and the inside I covered with pages from an old hymnal, and the inside back is a picture I loved that I'd saved of a snowy scene with Victorian ice skaters.  The stamps I used are all from a set of very vintage looking Christmas ones from Tim Holtz. I embossed the ornament stamps on the sides, and collaged the 2 little Christmas scenes. I added the beads and some glitz and the feet, and it was done!  You know when you start a project not particularly confident of how it's going to turn out, and then as you go along you start really liking it and by the end you love it?  I LOVE when that happens, as it did with this project. Now I want to make more of them so I'll be on the lookout for more vintage little Christmas things to put inside them.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I realized that I had never posted this plaster/encaustic piece, which is one of my favorites, and it seemed appropriate with it's themes of travel and family. I adore the torn out piece of music from an old hymnal (and I mean old, this book is so fabulous, the woman I bought it from said she pictured Jesus carrying it around, and if you saw it you'd understand). The name of the hymn is "The Absent, Unforgotten", and I just love that, especially at a time like now as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, as we gather with family and think of loved ones who have passed, or are perhaps away serving in the military.  I have to travel just a little at Thanksgiving, but it's so worth it to be immersed in the comforts of my family and the home where I grew up - I am very thankful that I still have that (and that my significant other is equally as happy to go there, where he is very loved).  I wish all of you the comforts of family and lots of love this Thanksgiving...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Christmas Cards

It's that time of year, when I put away my normal projects and get out my Christmas supplies. I've learned to start early if I plan any Christmas projects, and since I've now set a precedent of homemade Christmas cards I try to get those done first. Maybe not quite as many homemade ones this year, I'm going to try to limit it to people who I know truly appreciate them, so I still have some other kinds of Christmas projects left in me. This is a sampling of ones I've made this year - people have suggested that I just design one and make them all the same, but I just can't get myself to.  I'm sure it would be faster, but it would take the fun out of it I think.

I make very few cards these days, but they take me back a few years to where this whole art journey began - happening to see a copy of Stamper's Sampler (a Somerset magazine) in a Barnes & Noble, and looking through it and realizing what could be done with stamps. Then a few weeks later I decided to walk into a store I'd been curious about called The Paper Garden, and it turned out to be a wonderful store full of paper and every kind of stamp imaginable. I decided it was meant to be, bought my first stamp and went home and played with it and made my first card. Now, many many stamps later, I don't use them as often, less as a focal point and more as background for larger projects, but I still love them...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Art Under Duress

My friend Val asked me to make her something with her dog's name on it, many many months ago. Someone else had made her something with her other dog's name on it, and she wanted to have one of each. (She's pretty Dachschund crazy....)  I was immediately unenthusiastic about this assignment, as lettering is not a strong area of mine, and I didn't have a lot of confidence in what I'd make. I put it off, and put it off, but finally decided I absolutely needed to get it done for her for Christmas, so I grudgingly sat down to work on it. This is the result, it's on a 6"x9" canvas (it got kind of cut off because I scanned it), but I actually do like it, and most importantly, I think she'll love it.  It's made me realize that I need to work out of my comfort zone more, push myself to work on things that I don't necessarily have a lot of confidence about. How else do we grow, right?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Art Journaling and Inspiration Paralysis

I thought I'd share some of my art journal pages.  This is a variety that I happened to have scanned, as you can see I flit around a lot between different styles and mediums, depending on my current inspiration and what I may want to experiment with.  I love art journals, I love the whole thought of them. Art done just for yourself, with no one else to try to please, no wondering what you'll do with your piece when it's done. It just sits there on a shelf waiting for you to flip through and enjoy all over again.  I'm very sporadic about it though.  I feel sometimes like a sponge, that's absorbed too much inspiration, ideas and techniques to try, and it paralyzes me. Having a full-time job, when I finally find the time and energy to sit down in my "studio" (corner of our guest room), deciding what to settle down and work on is always the most difficult part. Sometimes I wish I had settled on just one thing that is my thing, art journals, painting, encaustic, plaster, assemblage etc.  Then I could just focus on that one thing and have less noise in my head, but I can't, I love them all. Maybe someday...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Industrial Goodness

I'm so excited about my new table that my significant other made, that I just have to share. We made some changes in the kitchen, and suddenly the console table I had in this spot looked completely out of place. Especially once I put up the old iron industrial window frames turned into a mirror above it. So I challenged my man to make me one, and boy did he come through. We found an old door that we used for the wood shelves, then he scoured iron yards for old rusty pieces that he could use, and really scored when he found the old casters.

I've been having fun decorating it. Old locker baskets, an old metal drawer, my old scale, and under the plant is my wonderful old prescription book from 1917 that I got recently. This will no doubt be an ever-changing display. Next step is painting the kitchen floor, checkerboard I think...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Crackled Plaster

I've been playing with a crackled plaster on burlap method I learned from Stephanie Lee, although I did it somewhat differently. I love burlap, and I like to leave it showing around the edges and outside. It was really fun, and messy, and I absolutely love all the cracks that are brought out by layers of paint. I wanted to keep the artwork simple, so as not to compete too much with the cracks and texture.The "A" on the top one was an old metal piece I got somewhere, and I've been reluctant to use it, as I am with many of my finds. But this piece just seemed to call out for it. The sunflower's center, below, is made from the outside spout of an old watering can, and the petals are made from an old sewing pattern and wire. I've had it in my head for a while, and I finally decided this was the piece to do it on. Really fun...

Monday, October 3, 2011


Fall has finally arrived here, my favorite time of year. My house is decorated, and I even made soup last night.  I get a little giddy this time of year, summers here are so hot that I start longing for Fall around the beginning of August, so when it finally arrives it's like heaven. To celebrate I made this collage piece over the weekend, it was a lot of fun. I love these kind of very old anatomical illustrations, and have been wanting to incorporate one into a piece. I like the combination of drippy paint, torn cobwebby cheesecloth, and "crystals", kind of a gothic feel to it, lightened up with the quotation "Trick or Treat, give me something good to eat", which is hard to read in this picture. Plus, the base layer is a page from my wonderful 1917 subscription ledger from Boston that I found last weekend in Petaluma. It's such a big fat book that it can definitely spare some pages...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Petaluma Inspiration

My Mom and I went to Petaluma over the weekend, for 2 reasons. One was Halloween & Vine, a juried Halloween art show that I'd heard about that I've wanted to go to. It was wonderful, really amazing (although in most cases shockingly expensive) original art. My favorite by far was actually one of the more reasonable vendors, and I just have to share pictures of the two pieces I bought (one is a gift, I swear!).

My pictures are terrible, I took them last night in awful light, but these are just so amazingly creative, she gets such amazing character out of these felt ( I assume) faces, and uses such wonderful accessories. It was torturous picking two of them...Here's her etsy site.
The other reason we were there was the Art Is You art retreat they had there for the first time. Actually attending the retreat and taking classes wasn't in the financial cards for me this year, but they had a trunk show Saturday night that was open to the public. Oh my gosh, I got to see some amazing art that I've only seen online, and meet some amazing artists in person. I got to meet Michael DeMeng, he was so nice, and so down to earth, which I already knew just from reading his book, "Secrets of Rusty Things" but it was so exciting to meet him and see his work in person. His fiance Andrea Matus, equally creative and amazing, was also so nice and easy to talk to. She has a piece that I just stared and stared at when looking at the available classes for the retreat, and it was wonderful to get to look at it in person, see it here. I got to meet some other amazing artists, and I left feeling so inspired, and really hoping I can attend next year.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Phrenology Love

I don't know what it is about these Phrenology heads that I love so much - it was pseudo-science at best, but the images speak to me of self-analysis, looking inward and understanding what makes yourself tick. Plus there's just something visually appealing about them. I'm lucky enough to have found an old book devoted entirely to Phrenology, so I can use the images and some of the text.  This is one of my plaster experiments, I love applying plaster somewhat roughly, then playing with the texture with layers of paint. And I just love this little metal plaque, maybe an old bicycle license plate? I was thrilled that it says BE, sometimes it's so hard to just be, to be comfortable in our own skin. Anyway, I attached it with some old rusty baling wire that someone gave me - people know that if it's rusty, I'll take it off their hands!  There are a couple of coats of clear encaustic wax applied as well, which I think gives it a dreamy quality. Since I'm on the subject, here's another piece I have right now featuring a phrenology head...

I made this using plaster gauze wrapped around a wood board - it adds great texture.The dots are made from molding paste, and there's the requisite piece of old mystery hardware and some rusty wire wrapped around it...As my significant other said, this one is SO me....

Thursday, September 15, 2011


This is the first time I've ever posted my work for the world to see (not that the world is looking!), and for some reason it gives me butterflies, but I promised myself to be braver and this is certainly part of it. I like the fact too that this can be a place where I can see the progress of my art journey, whatever that will be. This was my project over the weekend, and I had a lot of fun. I struggle to give up my rusty and old bits and pieces I collect to use in my mixed media pieces, so it was a little hard for me to use so many of my old watch parts, but it was worth it. I am very drawn to old clocks and timepieces and parts - the passage of time, and the nostalgia of the past affect me strongly and I naturally tend to reflect this in my art.  I also love drawing faces (thank you Suzi Blu!) so this was fun to incorporate both. She looks a little sad, but I do believe that time does have a lot of power to heal...

Monday, September 12, 2011


It’s taken a ridiculous amount of courage for me to start this blog. Not sure why – I guess it feels presumptuous somehow that I should think that I have something to say or show that others should see. But I’ve promised myself to be braver, and to declare that I am part of the mixed media community and that this little bit of the internet is for me.  I work full-time, in a very non-creative field, and my time spent with my art is my sanity, but I feel very isolated in that world. This is partially my own fault, I can be somewhat introverted and am not a good joiner – I’ve not been a regular blog reader, as it’s been difficult for me to sacrifice what free time I have to actually create art.  But as I’ve delved into the blog world recently, as the niggling thought that I should start my own became stronger and stronger, I’ve realized what a wonderful, nurturing, empowering community this is. This has made me want to be a part of it even more, not just to create my own blog, but to actually participate on others – that is my goal.

Now to take some decent pictures – I’m going to try and make a light box tonight in an attempt to improve on previous efforts…